Sunday, October 18, 2009

LA Luxury Chocolate Salon 2009: A Photoessay

The Pasadena Center
300 Green Street
Pasadena, CA
Sunday October 11
11 AM- 5PM

Sunday October 11th, we piled into the car and headed to Pasadena for some early morning chocolate tasting. Brunch came later.  As a tasting panelist, I got to weigh in on the best in show in many different categories, including but not limited to: milk chocolate, dark chocolate, packaging, eco-friendly chocolate, specialty chocolates, luxury chocolate, and so on and so forth.




Walking down the stairs to the main hall, I was first greeted by some of my favorite packaging, Jade chocolates.

 

Chocolate covered eda mame. Nice concept, not the tastiest of the day but not bad either.




 

Mari Chocolates had my ultimate chocolate bite of the day.

 

Mari offered a lovely zinfandel infused chocolate, it was very subtle.



This chevre and chocolate truffle? Hands down the most wonderful chocolate I have probably ever tasted. The strong goaty flavor of the cheese with a warm, medium dark chocolate? This is mouth heaven. Nothing beat this all day. Not even my cocktails later at Rockwell.

 

Mari also offered a nice chipotle, but not enough heat here for me.

 

Ever since T's comment about rose flavored macarons and granny panties, I have steered clear of anything rose flavored. Although these look beautiful.



Alter Eco offered the first green chocolates I tasted of the day.  Dark chocolate with almond.





Dark blackout, with intense cocoa powder.



I liked their regular dark cacao the best.


Dark chocolate velvet is a dark milk chocolate.

 

Farm Fresh to You was in the house with...



a big box of beautiful home delivery produce. About this time, these fruits and veggies were looking mighty tempting. Ooof.

 

Yelp had a presence and were giving away these adorable lunch boxes to try and attract new members. I was tempted to sign up for the giveaway because I love those lunch boxes, but I didn't think it was fair being that I have been a yelper for quite some time. However, I am far less frequent and consistent with my reviews since starting this blog. I think my last yelp said something like, "It's really great. I am too lazy to expound. Just trust me." Yelp somewhat unreliable? LOL.

 
Choclatique, a specialty chocolate house was in the mix.

 

Above is their seasonal ghost shaped liquor filled chocolates.

 

Above, their "Boo Box".

 

Choclatique would only let you sample one truffle, and I tried the Hot Hot Chocolate.  Just under the top is a little marshmallow, beneath that is a chocolate fluid, and under that a layer of chipotle chocolate to give your mouth some heat. And hot is was. This was a really fun chocolate to eat.

 

Original Beans got my vote for best eco-offering. Green Daily blog reports that for every $13 3,5 oz bar you buy, Original Beans plants a cocoa tree in the area where the beans for your bar were harvested.

 

And I can attest to the deliciousness of both the Esmerelda's Milk chocolate bar with fleur de sel,

 

it was delicious with a subtle soft saltiness...

 

and the incredible pop of pomegranate from their pomegranate dark chocolate bar. This was hands down my favorite dark chocolate, but I think most people would categorize this as a flavored bar.



I love salted sweets, and Alcove won my heart and taste buds with their amazing fleur de sel offering.  The fleur de sel in Alcove's bar is layered in between layers of chocolate, not mixed into the stuff. So you get the satisfying crunch of salt crystals as the chocolate melts away plus a stronger salt flavor.

 

Alcove also offers a pomegranate bar.

 


Far and away the spiciest chocolate in a room full of chipotle flavored chocolates was from Alcove as well. I was forewarned about the heat. I can take some heat, and while this was definitely the hottest in the room, it was still not challenging.

We had a lovely morning tasting chocolate, people watching and so on.  The room was packed by the time we left, and if I can be honest I must say that people can be pretty pushy when it comes to tasting chocolate. I refuse to be rude for sweets, so I don't think I really got a fair tasting of all that was on offer.  Later next year, at the potato chip luxury salon, lookout. I am bringing my cattle prod.

5 comments:

Kristine said...

Did you try those Goji Berry Chocolates? They were very "meh" even though they were very enthusiastic and knowledgable about their product.

My fave was the lavender sea salt ones in the little room where they had the chocolate sculptures.

And WHAT!?!? There is a fingerme potato luxury salon coming up?

Diana said...

I can't believe I missed the goat cheese chocolate! Drats!!!

SinoSoul said...

my fillings hurted 1/3 down.. LOOKS like a rowdy good time tho!

Bianca said...

Looks delicious! I like the Yelp lunchboxes too! :-)

kosher said...

that looks yummy, love chocolates a lot especially those black chocolates.